Scotland vs New Zealand: Nine things you need to know

Our man in Edinburgh looks ahead to today's match at BT Murrayfield as Scotland look to get a maiden win over the All Blacks

By Jason O Callaghan at Jason O'Callaghan in Edinburgh

What time does it get going?

Saturday 15 November 2014, kick-off 17:30 GMT, BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Live TV coverage on BBC 2, radio coverage on BBC Radio Scotland & BBC 5 Live.

Who’s the man with the whistle?

Frenchman Romain Poite will take charge of this Edinburgh clash. Poite was the man in the middle for a controversial All Black game involving South Africa just over a year ago. He red carded Bismarck du Plessis in a tasty affair that spiralled out of control at periods. The IRB took the extraordinary decision to rescind the red card shortly after, the international organisation for rugby even said Poite was wrong to issue the first of his yellows.

What’s the team news?

Scotland: Kiwi Vern Cotter has opted for the same XV that put in one of the highest scoring performances from a Scottish team for a number of years. Captain Greig Laidlaw will again lead out the team, four years on from his international debut, which he earned at Murrayfield against the All Blacks.

Glasgow Warriors scrum-half Henry Pygros is unfit to make the 23 after leaving the field with a concussive episode against Argentina and is replaced on the bench by former team-mate Chris Cusiter.

Big Jim Hamilton has being dropped from the 23. The Saracens lock lasted barely five minutes after coming on in the second half before receiving a yellow card which ended his contribution. Warriors lock Tim Swinson was named on the bench, but was a late withdrawal and replaced by Edinburgh’s Dave Denton.

The final change sees Warriors hooker replace Newcastle Falcons’ Scott Lawson among the replacements.

New Zealand: Richie McCaw will earn his 136th cap for the All Blacks as his captains a side with 13 changes to the one that beat England in the second match of their Northern Tour. McCaw will make his first international start at blindside as Sam Cane comes in at openside.

At 27, Blues hooker James Parsons makes his international debut after appearances for the Barbarians earlier this month.

The big news is, of course, Dan Carter’s return at outside-half to earn his 102nd cap, while Colin Slade is given a chance to prove his utility-back qualities with a start on the right wing rather than his customary 10 or 12 slots.

There is plenty of power and experience on the All Blacks bench, with Liam Messam, Sonny Bill Williams and Julian Savea among those waiting to make appearances.

Who is in the full match-day 23?

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); Sean Maitland  (Glasgow Warriors), Mark Bennett  (Glasgow Warriors), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors); Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester Rugby, captain); Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby), Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), Euan Murray (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Castres), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Cowan (London Irish), Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors).

Replacements. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors), Geoff Cross (London Irish), Dave Denton (Edinburgh), Johnnie Beattie (Castres); Chris Cusiter (Sale Sharks), Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors).

New Zealand: Ben Smith (Highlanders); Colin Slade (Crusaders), Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders), Ryan Crotty (Crusaders), Charles Piutau (Blues); Dan Carter (Crusaders), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes); Joe Moody (Crusaders), James Parsons (Blues), Charlie Faumuina (Blues), Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes), Dominic Bird (Crusaders), Richie McCaw (Crusaders, captain), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Victor Vito (Hurricanes).

Replacements: Dane Coles (Hurricanes), Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders), Ben Franks (Hurricanes), Luke Romano (Crusaders), Liam Messam (Chiefs); Augustine Pulu (Chiefs), Sonny Bill Williams (Chiefs), Julian Savea (Hurricanes).

Who should I keep an eye on?

Scotland: The Glasgow Warriors trio in the backline of Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour, especially with the latter two bursting up and down the wings. All three scored tries last weekend.

Maitland will be really worth a look, to see how he copes against some of his friends and idols in the game. First against the Haka, with his former Crusader teammate Ryan Crotty promising to really psyche him out and stare him down.

Maitland, earns his 15th cap since switching allegiances, is one of the standout players for Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO12 and, if his fine form continues and he avoids further injury, you feel he could prove to be one of the stars for Scotland at next year’s Six Nations and Rugby World Cup.

New Zealand: Watch out for Victor Vito. The Hurricanes versatile back-rower earns his 26th cap, is a pacy and nimble player that is a quick ball carrier rather than a brute force of All Black mechanism. A former Sevens star, Vito has been a regular since his breakthrough in 2010.

International rugby’s leading points scorer Dan Carter is another to watch. The 32-year-old has not started for 12 months because of a sabbatical and injury, but is keen to show he can lead the All Blacks ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup. If his performance at Murrayfield last time was anything to go by, expect him to be involved with everything.

What do the teams think of this match?

Scotland captain, Greig Laidlaw: “It’s going to be a tough ask for us this weekend, but we are confident after last weekend and looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s going to be a difficult challenge, we need to back one another up and play with pride and passion.

“If we are going to get anywhere near the All Blacks we need an 80-minute performance”.

All Blacks outside-half, Dan Carter: “There is a lot of excitement for me starting this weekend; it’s being 12 months since I last started for the All Blacks.

“I have talked an awful lot of about what the jersey means to me and to have another chance to wear the no.10. I had to work hard to get here. and I want to make the most of the opportunity”.

Anything I might have missed?

Both teams are coached by Kiwis, but Scotland’s Vern Cotter and Steve Hansen have never really crossed paths in rugby. Cotter carved out a respectable name for himself by turning Clermont Auvergne into one of the powerhouses in European rugby and was considered for the Ireland and England jobs before they went for other options.

Hansen’s coaching career has been on the international front, succeeding mentor Graham Henry as Wales coach in 2002. Hansen would later become Henry’s No.2 with the All Blacks in 2004 and was still at his side when they won the Rugby World Cup in 2011. He then saw off Cotter to succeed Henry in December 2011 and was the head coach when these sides last met.

There are plenty of Scottish New Zealand connections. As well as a Kiwi head coach in Cotter, the Scotland starting XV includes two New Zealand-born players in Blair Cowan and Sean Maitland, while former Scotland international and Glasgow Warriors head coach Sean Lineen, who now heads the U20 team and Scottish Rugby’s talent scouting, was also born in Auckland..

On the other side, like many New Zealanders, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has Scottish heritage. Earlier this week reminding everyone that both sides of his family come from the Borders area of Scotland and how much he loves playing in Scotland and the venue for his second All Blacks appearance.

Scotland have never defeated the All Blacks in 29 attempts – two draws being their best results, but the last time that happened was in 1983, and the last time they got within 15 points was at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Regardless of the result, the All Blacks will remain top of the IRB world rankings on Monday, a position they have occupied since November 2009.

What happened last time they met?

The All Blacks last visited Murrayfield in 2012, leaving with a six-try 51-22 win despite going behind to a Tim Visser try after a brilliant interception from his Edinburgh team-mate Matt Scott. Dan Carter also weighed in with 21 points off the tee.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vHzcXyx92g&w=500&h=315]

What do the bookies think?

Despite the 13 changes to the All Blacks starting XV, they are still overwhelming favourites.

Our man Paddy Power has Scotland at a reasonable 10/1 if you fancy an upset, or 75/1 for a third draw between the two nations, but there is little value in New Zealand at 1/33.

Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

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